Your Business Card is Your Paper Partner

Make sure your card will re-start the conversation after your recent meeting

When you talk with another professional at an industry conference or networking event, you invariably exchange business cards. In that moment, you might peruse the new contact’s card thoughtfully and comment on the text, logo or service.

Hours, days or weeks later, you again look at that card and decide how to proceed with this new connection.

  • What do you do when this second reading of the card does not remind you of that engaging conversation?
  • What if you no longer recall the person who gave it to you?

Perhaps the card is responsible for this lapse in your recollection. Many business cards are not memorable, offering rather vague information about the individual and his business. You may need to look for the person on LinkedIn or visit the company website to refresh your memory.

Now, put the shoe on the other foot.

When you are not present, your business card is your paper partner.

It represents YOU.

That’s why it must clearly and succinctly convey:

  • who you are
  • what service(s) or product(s) you provide
  • who your preferred clients are

When your card achieves these goals, it can easily re-ignite that initial conversation.

Take a moment to review your stack of accumulated business cards — one by one — with this three-point checklist: the profession, service and target market of the person who gave it to you. Note the ones that meet the criteria and those that fall short.

In some cases, the text on the business card may not distinguish the individual sufficiently. Perhaps the back of the card has no supplemental information or you did not make a notation (other than to send the person an article or a connection’s name). This gap puts you at a loss to remember the contact solely from his card.

When I reviewed assorted business cards recently, one only gave the person’s name, phone number and email address. On the back was Surname Marketing, with a logo comprised of the letters S and M. No industry, no niche specialization.

Does Surname Marketing provide digital marketing, branding or advertising? Does it focus on consumers, businesses or nonprofit organizations? The card does not answer these questions.

Another new connection’s card provided her contact information, plus the street address and website. The back displayed Surname Company and below that Creative. But what was the profession? Documentary filmmaker, copywriter or graphic designer? 48 hours after receiving the card, I had forgotten, so I looked up the website.

Actually, she is an interior designer. Sadly, the back of the card was black, so I could not have written a note to jog my memory later.

Clearly, these two cards are not consistent with the professionalism of their owners. When the marketing consultant and creative interior designer add a few words about their services and target clients, their cards will become active paper partners and speak forcefully on their behalf.

This Month’s Tip

Take a closer look at your own card and see how it matches these criteria:

    1. Your name, title and company name
    2. Description of your profession/service
    3. Ideal client or target market
    4. Contact information: street address, phone number(s), email address and website
    5. Tag line that amplifies your offer
    6. Distinctive logo or visual element that is not overused, e.g., not the scales of justice for an attorney
    7. White or light-colored back, so the recipient can write a note there
    8. Font size of at least 8 point for legibility
    9. Substantial card stock that is not paper thin

Review your business card against this checklist and adjust accordingly. When you have revised the card, ask others for feedback and then make any suggested edits. For production of your business card, turn to one of the many printing and stationery vendors online or you may visit a local office supply store to print the cards.


Does your business card talk to a new connection and concisely deliver information that will resonate after your first conversation? Let’s revisit your card and consider how it might make a more memorable impression. Contact me at , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770, so your paper partner will speak up for you loud and clear.

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